The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams

The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams
The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams

The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams

By Jonathan Ned Katz


240 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, PDF, Mobipocket

Cloth, $30.00 (US $30.00) (CA $40.00)

ISBN 9781641605168

Rights: US & CA

Chicago Review Press (May 2021)


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Historian Jonathan Ned Katz uncovers the forgotten story of radical lesbian feminist Eve Adams, and her long-lost book Lesbian Love
Eve Adams was a rebel. Born Chawa Zloczewer into a Jewish family in Poland, Adams emigrated to the United States in 1912. The young woman took a new name, befriended anarchists, sold radical publications, and ran lesbian-and-gay-friendly speakeasies in Chicago and New York. Then, in 1925, Adams risked all to write and publish a book titled Lesbian Love. In a repressive era, long before today’s gay liberation movement, when American women had just gained the right to vote, Adams’s bold activism caught the attention of the young J. Edgar Hoover and the US Bureau of Investigation, leading to her surveillance and arrest. In a case that pitted immigration officials, the New York City police, and a biased informer against her, Adams was convicted of publishing an obscene book and of attempted sex with a policewoman sent to entrap her. Adams was jailed and then deported back to Europe, and ultimately murdered by Nazis in Auschwitz. In The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams, acclaimed historian Jonathan Ned Katz has recovered the extraordinary story of an early, daring activist. Drawing on startling evidence, carefully distinguishing fact from fiction, Katz presents the first biography of Adams, and the publisher reprints the long-lost text of Adams’s rare, unique book Lesbian Love.


“Jonathan Katz has rescued from oblivion one of Emma Goldman’s least-known associates, and in so doing treats contemporary readers to a colorful and original take on one of the most famous and infamous periods of American history. The book’s concentration on US persecution of homosexuals during this time is an eye opener.” —Vivian Gornick, author of Emma Goldman and Unfinished Business

“Lost for almost a century, here is the incredible story of the first major defense of queer female lives and desires penned in the United States and its violent suppression by the American government, told by one of the most eminent queer historians. This book will be a landmark of queer history.” —Laurie Marhoefer, author of Sex and the Weimar Republic

The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams is a detective story, a thriller, an exploration of queer history, a tragedy, and finally an act of loving recovery. The until-now lost story of Eve Adams is the story of the struggles, the persistence, and the triumphs of queer people in America, even in the face of death.” —Michael Bronski, author of A Queer History of the United States
“Katz’s book inspires me as a Jew, a rabbi, a dyke, an activist, and an organizer.” —-Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

“Katz is at the height of his powers here—precision scholarly sleuthing combined with sweeping narrative that fills in the blanks of a fascinating world of lesbians and assorted radicals, including Emma Goldman and Henry Miller. A MAJOR contribution to lesbian history.” Esther Newton, author of My Butch Career: A Memoir
“This is a truth-stranger-than-fiction narrative that is compelling, gripping and revelatory. Through imaginative research, Katz has uncovered the story of a Jewish immigrant who was both a political radical and an open lesbian a century ago. He has restored to history a life that we need to know about.” —John D’Emilio, author of Queer Legacies: Stories from Chicago’s LGBTQ Archives

“On these pages, Eve Adams rises up, loves, rebels—her times, eerily resembling our own. I was in the audience of Katz’s first public gift to us, his documentary play Coming Out! Decades later, I am so grateful to be in his audience once again, and to welcome home Eve Adams.” —Joan Nestle, cofounder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives and author of A Restricted Country
“Katz shows us once again how much astonishing LGBTQ history remains out there to be explored and shared.” —Hugh Ryan, author of When Brooklyn Was Queer

“An audacious lesbian pioneer, long hidden from both LGBT and Jewish history, Eve Adams finally gets her due in this wonderful book. Eve, a poor immigrant from Poland, became a lesbian bar owner, bon vivant, activist, and early chronicler of queer culture. Her life offers a window into radical working-class bohemians in New York and Chicago in the early 20th century. Her persecution reveals the ways social conservatives, anti-Semites, and anti-immigrant forces conspired to rid the country of “undesirables”—with tragic consequences. The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams offers powerful lessons for today” —Arlene Stein, author of Unbound and Reluctant Witnesses
“Bohemian lesbians, radical activism, police entrapment—this first biography of Eve Adams offers an immigrant history unlike any other!” —Elizabeth Heard, adjunct professor, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University.

“This book documents an important part of early 20th century LGBT American and European history.” —Ken Lustbader, cofounder of NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
“Anarchist, lesbian, Jew, writer, anthropologist, and freedom fighter Eve Adams lived her beliefs and her desires boldly and died the victim of small-mindedness and barbarity. A fascinating, groundbreaking book.” —Judith Levine, journalist and author of The Feminist and the Sex Offender

“Absolutely wonderful, so timely, so important! Eve Adams played a courageous pioneering role in Lesbian history, fighting US government officials’ homophobic, anti-radical, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, right-wing acts during the 1920s and 1930s that censored, attacked, and destroyed many lives.” —Deborah Edel, cofounder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives
“A compelling, engaging, and moving narrative. I found myself with tears in my eyes at the end, and filled with gratitude. Astonishing.” —Noam Sienna, author of A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969
 “Praises for Jonathan Ned Katz, who keeps rescuing from oblivion fascinating 20th century LBGTQ pioneers, including the Lesbian bohemian Eve Adams. As a bonus we get to read her taboo-breaking book Lesbian Love.” —Alix Kates Shulman, author of Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen and coeditor of Women’s Liberation!

"This is an impressive feat of research as well as a fascinating and important story about an unsung and, until now, invisible figure in gay history.” — Booklist, STARRED review

Author Biography

Jonathan Ned Katz is the author of four pioneering books on the US history of life, sexuality, and intimacy. He is the founder of, and he has taught and spoken at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. He's also the recipient of the Magnus Hirschfeld Medal for outstanding contributions to sex research and Yale University's Brudner Prize, among many other accolades.